Diabetes and Amputation: What You Should Know

Posted on: May 12th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

In 2010, 73,000 people over the age of 20 underwent amputation due to complications from diabetes. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, foot care and proper management of your blood sugar levels can significantly reduce your chances of having an amputation in the lower leg, foot or toes.

By following the foot care instructions below, those who live with diabetes can significantly lower their chances of an amputation:

 

  • Check your feet regularly for blisters, swelling, bruises, and redness
  • To get a closer look at your feet, use a magnifying glass
  • Use a feather or other light object to check for sensation in your feet
  • Ask a loved one or a friend to examine your feet
  • Discover if your feet can feel the difference between warm and cold temperatures
  • Wear diabetic shoes and socks to ensure circulation

 

When managing your blood sugar levels, the following steps can help you avoid complications caused by diabetes:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Check your blood sugar regularly
  • Exercise
  • Take your insulin and other diabetic medications as instructed by your physician

 

At Jonesboro, we have a wide selection of diabetic foot care and blood sugar testing supplies available to help you maintain the health of your lower limbs and prevent your chance of amputation caused by major diabetic complications.

I Woke Up and My Prosthesis Doesn’t Fit – Now What?

Posted on: May 5th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

As a new amputee, you will face a number of hurdles when it comes to learning how to use your prosthesis. One of the more common problems is waking up to find that it no longer fits as well as it did the day before. Don’t panic—we’ve seen this before, and can help. Here are a number of tips on what to do in that situation:

  • Visit your prosthetist: For new prosthesis users, you will likely have to visit your prosthetist regularly during the first few weeks or months to find a fit that makes you feel most comfortable. This may mean making appointments up to several times a week. Your limb is undergoing drastic changes, so naturally you’ll need many adjustments made to your prosthesis.

 

  • Be proactive: There are some motions that can cause a residual limb to change. Taking a hot shower, dangling your limb over the side of a bed or chair or neglecting your stretches can all cause it to change shape, thus affecting the prosthesis fit.

 

  • Experiencing weight loss or gain: Weight fluctuations can cause your limb to swell or decrease in size, causing your prosthesis to feel too tight or too loose. Make sure you consult with your prosthetist if you are experiencing any discomfort when wearing your prosthesis due to fluctuations in your weight.

 

  • Worn or damaged socket: Over time, the socket, or the piece of your prosthesis that connects your limb and prosthesis, can become worn, causing you to feel discomfort when moving. Consult with your prosthetist about replacing your socket if it has become damaged due to normal wear and tear.

 

Any time you experience unexplained discomfort when wearing your prosthesis, you risk causing further damage to your body and more pain. Schedule an appointment with Jonesboro today so you can enjoy all of the amazing benefits that your prosthesis has to offer.

Heroes, Gods and Kings: Amputees in Mythology

Posted on: April 19th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

Limb loss has long been a part of human history. Archeologists have discovered prostheses in Egyptian tombs, and Aztec statues depicting people missing one or more appendages have been unearthed. It’s no wonder, then, that amputees have made their way into mythology. A number of heroes and deities in the old stories were missing limbs, such as:

– Vishpla

An ancient poem in India references a mighty queen, Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle. The gods then gave her a leg of iron so that she could continue fighting. Thought to be 3200 years old, the poem makes the earliest reference in literature to a prosthesis. Sadly, since it is so old, we don’t have the full story of Vishpla—the author assumed all the readers would already be familiar with this myth!

– Nuada

Irish lore tells of a great king who came to the Emerald Isle to claim the land for his people. During the battle that ensued, Nuada lost his arm in combat to another great warrior, Sreng. As a result, Nuada wore a prosthesis made of silver and went by the nickname of “Airgetlám” which means “silver arm.” It was said he ruled Ireland for 20 years.

-Tyr

As a Viking god of war, Tyr’s missing hand was perhaps a nod to the limb loss soldiers experience on the battlefield. Norse mythology says Tyr lost his hand when he and the other gods were attempting to bind the evil, world-destroying wolf Fenrir. Additionally, one of our days of the week, Tuesday, was named after him, so our upper limb amputees can claim that day as theirs as well!

-Tezcatlipoca

The central deity of Aztec culture, Tezcatlipoca was said to have lost his foot while battling the Earth Monster. He was depicted wearing several different prostheses, including ones made of bone, obsidian and snakes. His twin brother, Xolotl, was thought to be the one who caused congenital limb loss, so children who were born missing limbs were considered special.

– Pelops

Greek hero Pelops lost his right shoulder as a result of an evil plot by his father, so he wore a prosthesis made of ivory. Legend claims that Pelops organized a big chariot race that later inspired the Olympic Games, which means the first Olympics were spearheaded by none other than a Paralympian.

 

From India to the Americas, amputees have found a place of reverence in mythology and stories—and no wonder! At Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory we’ve seen our patients display incredible strength and courage. While we can’t make you a prosthesis made of snakes or silver, we can certainly craft you a custom device that helps you realize your own inner hero.

3 Reasons Why Diabetes Causes Amputation, and What You Can Do About It

Posted on: April 5th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

Diabetes is the number one reason Americans undergo amputation. This disease can cause nerve damage, ulcers, infections and other foot-related ailments that can quickly worsen. Those who have experienced limb loss as a result of diabetes are often at risk of experiencing a second amputation as well.

Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory is here to help. We’re going to look at the top three reasons why diabetes causes amputation, and what you can do about it:

 

  • Damaged blood vessels and nerves.

 

If your blood sugar stays at high levels for too long, you run the risk of damaging blood vessels and nerves, especially in your extremities. This leads to decreased sensation, which means you may not notice at first if you get a cut, sore or a blister on your foot. Any one of those can then turn into an infection that isn’t able to heal properly. You can protect your feet by having one of our orthotists create custom orthotic shoes for you.

 

  • Decreased white blood cell effectiveness.

 

High levels of blood sugar not only lead to damaged nerves and blood vessels, they also lead to decreased effectiveness of white blood cells. This means your body will not be able to fight any infections that occur on your feet as well. By managing your blood sugar, you will decrease the likeliness that an infection is unable to heal.

 

  • Poor circulation.

 

The third thing that high blood sugar causes is poor circulation, which means less blood is getting to your extremities. This makes it easier for ulcers to develop, which when combined with your body’s decreased ability to fight infections, can lead to amputation. Staying consistent with your blood sugar management program can help you avoid amputation, as well as ceasing any bad habits such as smoking.

 

 

Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory wants to help our patients avoid additional amputation. Fortunately, when it comes to diabetes, proper blood sugar management and foot care can go far in prevention. See us today if you want us to make custom footwear to protect your lower limbs.

Common Misconceptions about Amputees

Posted on: March 28th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

Every amputee faces questions from time to time, and often these questions can be fueled by common misconceptions. Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory is here to dispel some of these myths, and spread some much-needed amputee awareness:

  • You must have had a tragic accident!

 

Not all amputation happen because of a traumatic experience. Some amputees are born without various body parts. This is referred to as congenital limb loss. Another common cause for amputation is complication associated with diabetes. In fact, this is the most common reason for amputation in the United States.

 

  • Amputees wear their prosthesis all the time.

 

Wearing a prosthesis is like putting on a shoe. There are some times where it’s more comfortable to go without it. In some situations, wearing a prosthesis may not even be an option. If there are sensitive electronic parts in a prosthesis, for example, an amputee typically wouldn’t wear it while swimming.

 

  • Amputees all have an amazing athletic ability.

 

Because of wonderful programs such as the Paralympics, there’s a lot of attention placed on amputees who have overcome their personal limb loss to become great athletes. However, not all amputees were athletic prior to limb loss, and may not feel inclined to take up a sport after the fact.

 

  • Amputees can’t swim, hike, ride a bike, etc. again.

 

If people don’t think of amputees as great athletes, they often think of them as unable to participate in many activities. The truth is, many amputees are able to regain an active lifestyle, and enjoy exercise across a wide variety of difficulty. It may take work, but we’ve found most of our patients to be very resilient.

 

  • Amputees walk different while using a prosthesis.

 

With the right prosthesis, prosthetist and physical therapist, it’s very easy for an amputee to hide the fact that they’re walking on a prosthetic leg. Often, people won’t know someone is an amputee until they choose to reveal it.

 

These aren’t the only myths we’ve heard circulating about amputees, but they are some of the more common ones. Are there any you would add to this list? Share this article and comment on our Facebook to spread awareness in your social circle! If you would like help returning to your active lifestyle, contact JP&O today.

Modifying Your Home for the Recent Amputee

Posted on: March 14th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

If you and your doctor are planning an amputation—or even considering it as a possibility—there could be a number of changes that you will need to make to adjust to your life. Even if you plan on wearing a prosthesis, there will be a healing period, which will require you to go without it for some time.  Because of this, some additional home modification may be necessary. Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory is here to help with the top three things you’ll need to do in order to make your home accessible for a recent amputee:

Make the entrances and exits more accessible.

Stairs can be a challenge for lower-limb amputees. Threshold or modular ramps can make it much easier to move in and out of your home while using crutches or a wheelchair. If you have a staircase in your home, consider installing a stair lift, even if it’s temporary. For upper-limb amputees, replacing your doorknobs with levers and installing motion-sensor lights can make life a little easier.

Install Bath Safety Products.

A shower chair or bench is very helpful to the lower-limb amputee both before and after you’ve received your prosthesis, as it allows you to bathe while sitting down. You should also install a safety grab bar, to help stabilize yourself as you get in and out of the shower. Both of these products are usually found at your local home medical equipment supplier.

Move things in your kitchen.

If you’re using a wheelchair, you may need to rearrange items in your kitchen so they are accessible from a sitting position. This means organizing your cupboards so a majority of things are located on the lower shelves. For upper-limb amputees, you may want to buy a number of appliances that can help you in food preparation, such as an electric can opener and a food processor. There are also a number of other kitchen tools to help the one-handed chef. Things like a spike board, belli-clamp, a buttering board and a saucepan handle stabilizer are great staple for upper-limb amputees.

Heart Healthy Exercises for Lower-Limb Amputees

Posted on: February 21st, 2017 by JPO Blogger

As an amputee, you have a unique set of health concerns. According to the Oxford Journal of Medicine, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease may be one of them, especially for post-traumatic lower-limb amputees.

One way to combat this added risk is to get plenty of cardio-friendly exercise, which may be while adapting to your prostheses. February is American Heart Month, and Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory is excited to offer you effective and achievable options to help you get started:

Swimming.

This is perhaps one of the most accessible exercises, it doesn’t require extensive leg movement to exercise properly. Depending on what type of a prosthesis you have, you may or may not be able to leave it on while in the water. Always remember to check with your prosthetist before you go for a plunge.

Hand Bike.

It is entirely possible to learn how to ride a traditional bike using lower-limb prosthesis, but if you’re not ready or comfortable, a hand bike can be a great alternative. While this requires buying special equipment, it also means you’ll become more mobile. Many recent amputees report becoming tired more easily, but this device can enable you to exercise without early fatigue.

Stretches or Yoga.

Cardio exercises are good for your heart, and regular stretching can be extremely beneficial for your overall mobility. These movements can safeguard you from pulling muscles during more intense cardio exercises, and can keep you from injuring yourself while learning stability on your prosthesis. Additionally, stretching can help your prosthesis form better to your residual limb.

 

Remember, adjusting to life with a prosthesis is a journey, and there may be some frustrations along the way. With perseverance, however, you can return to a more mobile life. Our expert staff can help you get there, so call us today to set up appointment!

Dating After Amputation

Posted on: February 7th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

With hearts in all the windows and candies and flowers abounding, reminders of love are everywhere right now. If you’re a new amputee, you might be looking at these reminders and wondering what the dating scene will look like for you now. Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory is here to offer some encouragement when it comes to looking for love after limb loss:

  • Focus on what mattes.

 

Finding your confidence after amputation can be difficult, but just remember that your heart, soul and mind are intact. You can love someone while still missing a limb, but it’s impossible to love someone if you don’t have a heart or soul. Those essential parts of you are still there no matter what.

 

  • Rejection will happen.

 

If someone is not interested in dating you because you’re an amputee, they are not worth your time. Rejection happens to everyone, but there are some people who will reject you because they are uncomfortable with your condition. The problem—and the loss—is theirs, not yours.

 

  • Reveal your condition naturally.

 

Don’t fret over how you will bring up to your date that you are an amputee. If you’re wearing shorter clothing, it may be obvious. Otherwise, be yourself and let it come up naturally in the flow of conversation.

 

  • Be prepared to answer questions.

 

Even if some people will reject you because of your amputation, more than likely your date will be curious. Prepare some of your answers ahead of time, such as how it happened and what your day-to-day life is like. How much information you give away is all dependent on your comfort level with the other person.

 

  • Be Positive.

 

You want to present your best side to your date, especially if you’re just getting to know each other. Rather than focusing on the negative aspect of losing a limb, tell them about you proudest moments in regaining your independence.

Just as most amputees go on to have successful careers, participate in athletics and pursue hobbies, so too do they go on to find love, life partners and start families. At  Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory, we’re here to help you return to the activities you previously enjoyed. Not only can we craft custom prostheses and orthoses, we can also connect you to support groups who can offer you guidance and emotional support as you undertake this journey in life.

Prosthesis Skiing 101

Posted on: January 27th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

There’s nothing like hitting the slopes on a sunny winter day, but if you’re a new amputee, you may feel discouraged about learning your favorite sport all over again. With the right preparation, it’s completely feasible to ski post-amputation. Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory would like to share a few of our favorite skiing strategies:

Sit-Skiing

If you’re not able or ready to stand up while skiing, this is the perfect option for you. There’s two main styles of sit-skis: bi-skis, which have a bucket with two skis, and mono-skis, which have a bucket with one ski. While the mono ski offers the best maneuvering capabilities, the bi-ski does offer the most stability.

Three-tracking

If you feel secure enough in your balance, you may want to try three-tracking. You balance your sound leg on one ski, and use poles with ski-like blades on the bottom. This allows you to ski without taking your prosthesis along, which can help you avoid any problems associated with exposing it to snow and wetness. The one disadvantage is that it places a heavy amount of stress on the sound limb. Before attempting this technique, you may want to work with your therapist to see how to best build up your strength and endurance.

Skiing while wearing a lower-limb prosthesis

Remember, your prosthesis was designed for walking, not skiing. Your prosthesis will likely require some adjustment before you hit the slopes, so be sure to check in with your prosthetist. He or she may also recommend you use an orthosis for better stabilization. For more advanced skiers, there are special devices build specifically for this sport, such as a foot that clips directly onto the ski and doesn’t require you to use a boot to ski.

Upper-limb amputees

When you’re first starting out, it’s a good idea to get an adaptive device that allows you to grip the pole. After a while, you may not need it at all. It’s not uncommon to see upper-limb amputees who are advanced skiers go without them. Before you even attempt to ski with your prosthesis, however, make sure that you take extra precautions to ensure it doesn’t get wet.

At  Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory, we want to help. We can make any adjustments you need before getting back into this winter sport and we’d love to answer any questions you have about hitting the slopes after amputation.

4 Winter Sports to Enjoy with a Prosthesis

Posted on: January 13th, 2017 by JPO Blogger

If you participated in winter sports prior to amputation, now is the perfect time to pick up your favorite exercise again! Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory is here to help you get back out there this season. Here are a few sports we recommend for those playing with a prosthesis:

Skiing

You have three different options when it comes to skiing: sit-skiing, three-tracking and traditional. In sit-skiing, you ride in a bucket that’s suspended between one or two skis. Three-tracking is where you use only one ski, standing on it with your sound leg. This lets you ski without your prosthesis. The third option is to ski with both your prosthesis and your natural leg. You’ll want to see your prosthetist before experimenting with that technique, as you may need some adjustments to your prosthesis before skiing successfully.

Sledge Hockey

Officially knowns as para ice hockey, this sport allows lower-limb amputees to navigate the ice on a sledge. This sledge is made up of two skate blades on a metal frame, which allows the player to maintain a maneuverable sitting position. This sport is officially recognized and governed by the International Paralympic Committee. A number of cities throughout the United States have sledge hockey teams, so this can also be a great way to meet fellow amputees in your area.

Snowboarding

Just like with skiing, lower-limb amputees will want to see their prosthetist for adjustments before getting strapped in. Once back on the slopes, be sure to bring some plastic bags to wrap around your prosthesis to keep it dry. These bags can also be used to fill out your board boots and help your prosthesis fit better.

Ice Skating

For lower-limb amputees, there’s a unique opportunity to affix an ice skate at the end of your prosthesis. If you have a microprocessor knee, there are also some options to allow it lock out at different angles.

Returning to your favorite activities is important to your not only health but also your state of mind. Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory will help you get there. Give us a call and schedule your return to winter sports today!